Two studies, carried out by The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and the Department of Psychology in Chicago, looked at emoticon use among 5,300 single US adults.
Participants identified as straight, bisexual, lesbian and gay with ages varying between 18 and 94-years-old. The study examined how frequently they use emojis in messages to a potential date plus the motivation behind their choice of emoticons.
Results of the survey revealed that 53% of participants regularly use emojis in order to express their feelings with 19.9% adding that symbols are simply faster and easier to use as opposed to penning a full message.
A further 12.5% admitted to using emojis simply because they are deemed to be cool.
Survey participants were then asked how many first dates they have gone on in the last year alongside how many times that they have had sex.
“Emoji/emoticon use was associated with more first dates and more frequent sexual activity over the last year,” the research team said.
To further emphasise the correlation between emoji use and increased bedroom activity, a second study was undertaken online with 275 participants in total.
After asking a series of more personal questions, the survey discovered that self-confessed emoji experts reported a greater number of second dates.
This also means that emoticon devotees enjoyed more frequent sexual activity (alongside a larger number of different partners) in the past year.
“Using emojis with potential romantic and sexual partners may in turn lead to more face-to-face opportunities to assess compatibility and attraction,” the research team concluded. “Emojis appear to be an important aspect of social behaviour in today’s digital world that can be used strategically as affective signals, particularly in the domain of human courtship.”
Sadly, the study didn’t examine the exact emojis used but we can guarantee that there is no such thing as an innocent use of the aubergine emoji.